1/48 Me-410B-1/U4, Stab II/Zg26 by Revell-Monogram ProModeller
The Me-410 Hornisse was a follow on to the ill-fated Me-210 heavy fighter, which almost destroyed Messerschmitt's reputation due to its horrendous handling qualities. The design was intended as a Heavy Fighter, light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. It is best known as a bomber destroyer (Zerstorer) and was used in the war-torn skies over Europe during 1943 and '44, until it was was pulled from service due to heavy losses from the P-51s and P-47s of the 8th and 9th AF and the RAF. During their heyday they were effective attackers, 1 hit from a BK50 aerial cannon would destroy a B-17 or B-24. They were also flown to good effect by the Hungarian Air Force as well.
Like most of you modelers around the world, I've been spending lots of time at home, except I was dubbed an essential employee. But other than work, I've spent most of my time with my wife and our two Cocker Spaniels, trying to stay safe. In the meantime, I've been able to actually build models during the summer; usually I'm out riding and being active. Looking thru my wall of unbuilt or partially built kits I spied...a kit I started as soon as I bought it back in 1997, by painting the cockpit...and then for some odd reason put it back in the box and into the "I'll finish it latter" pile. 22 years, 4 moves and over 100 builds latter, "latter" finally arrived!
The original issue of this kit, which is this one, included 30mm cannon, the 20mm cannon in underfuselage pod, the GR-2 aerial rocket pods and the BK50 Bordkanon, which is the version I wanted to build. However, this first issue did not include the correct under nose section to use the BK50! Probably why I put the kit away...In 2000, the kit was reissued with the correct undernose part, which I promptly bought, and stashed away as well!
With the correct part in hand, and a set of Aeromaster' Decals for the version I wanted to model, I was off to the races. This kit was surprizingly easy to build, with all the parts fitting as intended and very well detailed. I didn't have to use any filler at all except for the canopy, which was the most daunting part of the kit. I had read that the fit of the canopy was a real bear, due to the complex shape and the number of parts, so I did a lot of dry fitting, and modified the gunner's rear sites by shortening the outboard sight mounts enough to fit inside the canopy without interfering with the canopy due to the thickness. Before tackling the placement I used the Eduard vinyl masking set I had aquired so many years ago and masked the inside of the canopy, sprayed RLM 66 Dark grey, removed the masks and got to work...
I started by cementing the windscreen first with Tamiya Extra Thin cement, followed by the right side canopy section. I had a gap between the windscreen and the rest of the canopy I filled with Vallejo acrylic putty, and set the assembly aside to dry overnight. Next was the hard part. the Left side had cutouts for the opening sections and was somewhat warped, so again I used caution and cemented the aft portion of the canopy first, making sure everything was squared up and dry before proceeding to the next segment. I had to trim a tiny slice in the front frame but so far so good. Finally I had to join the center segment behind the pilots seat, and there was a large gap that would be very difficult to join with cracking something...so I used a small piece of strip styrene, gently sanded after drying. I added the antenna after everything was dry instead of trying to sandwich the piece between the canopy halves. Overall, I am pretty pleased with how everything worked out.
After masking the canopy I then proceeded to prep the kit for painting, first by praying the canopy frames with Tamiya German Grey, the outlining all the panel lines with the same color as a preshade. The actual 74/75/76 paints I used are from the AK RealColors Air Paints Luftwaffe Mid war set using an Iwata Neo dual action airbrush and using AK's recommended airbrush thinner at 50/50 ration, shooting at 16psi. I really like this paint, it lays down very smooth and feathers nicely. After all painting was done I used Tamiya's black and brown panel liners, wiped off in the direction of airflow this a cotton swab lightly dampened with Turpenoid. After adding an EZ Line aerial and a tail light from a small dab of Bondix and completing the usual weathering I am able to claim the Shelf Of Doom denizen as Saved! I have to admit that this kit turned out much better than I expected and was much easier and better detailed than it initially appeared to be in the box and is a welcome addition to my growing Luftwaffe collection.
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.